The latest news out of the Emerald City in sports besides Brandon Browner’s suspension or the ever-evident hatred of David Stern (see basketball season, team not in Seattle) is the fact that the Seattle Mariners are kicking the tires pretty heavily on multiple free agents. Those free agents not being the retired Ken Griffey Jr, Milton Bradley (the board game and the player, seriously the M’s could probably use the money) or Jamie Moyer (although that last one wouldn’t be terrible). No, the Mariners are going after the most high profile guys out there. Josh Hamilton. Michael Bourn. Nick Swisher. There are even reports that lead us to believe that the Mariners would trade for Justin Upton.
Let’s let that all set in for a moment before we move on. WHAT!?!?!?!?!
Does anyone who has even bothered to listen to the Mariners-themed section of the news remember Richie Sexson? Adrian Beltre? Carlos Silva (who then turned into Milton Bradley)? Miguel Bautista? These were ridiculous contracts that Seattle gave out. The first two to try and repair a dismal offense. Sexson had two years where his contract was probably deserved, but then he completely fell off the map and had two horrendous years. (Though I will say this, the Sexon TV commercials were pretty good.)
Beltre was solid for a couple years in Seattle and the sputtered to a dismal ’09 season. Because of that he had to go to Boston to reestablish his career and is now an MVP candidate with the Rangers.
What I’m getting at is that while Beltre and Sexson had some decent years in Seattle, the pair produced zero playoff appearances. One or two players don’t build a team.
You simply can’t build Rome in a day. Which is why this all bothers me. Let’s say the Mariners do bring in Hamilton on a ridiculous contract because they’ll overpay him when no one else will. Let’s also say that for some reason they coax Bourn into spending part of his career here. So, the Mariners would then have a lineup that would somewhat resemble this:
- CF Michael Bourn
- 2B Dustin Ackley
- LF Josh Hamilton
- DH Jesus Montero
- 3B Kyle Seager
- RF Michael Saunders/ Franklin Gutierrez/ Eric Thames
- 1B Justin Smoak
- C John Jaso
- SS Brendan Ryan
That doesn’t work. 1-3 in the order looks very good actually, but the rest seems suspect. Seager had a great season as a young player, but who knows what will happen or if there is a “young player wall,” so to speak. Montero showed flashes of brilliance last year, but also showed flashes of the opposite end of the spectrum. Maybe the Miguel Cabrera comparisons got to him. Brendan Ryan is fantastic defensively, but is the polar opposite offensively. First base, catcher and right field are all still open for consideration, and now we get to what really worries me.
You can’t build Rome in a day.
Even with Hamilton and Bourn, the Mariners are still not even the second best team in their own division. They have huge holes at the aforementioned first, catcher and in the outfield. So, when a team has needs they tend to trade their prospects to get them. If the Mariners are willing to commit so much to Josh Hamilton and Bourn, it’s not out of the question for them to go after Upton.
Upton is a fantastic player who would give Seattle a great outfield if the team is able to acquire him as well as Bourn and Hamilton. But, the team would probably have to give up at least two of, if not three of, Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen, James Paxton, Nick Franklin or Mike Zunino. The first three being highly touted, young starting pitching prospects. If the Mariners stood pat with their roster, they’d likely be the Western Tampa Bay Rays. They would have the three of them and Felix Hernandez in their rotation. YOU COULD WIN WITH THAT. But the Mariners want offense. So, if they decide to move for Upton, they would have to give up some of those pitchers. You’re mortgaging your future for a good player, but one coming off a shaky season.
You can’t build Rome in a day, or in a couple years if you don’t have any solid material to work with.
This all reeks of past Mariners’ moves. For all we know Josh Hamilton, Justin Upton and Michael Bourn could lead a new-look Mariners team that actually wins. Or, for all we know they could be the next Richie Sexson, Adrian Beltre and Carlos Silva.
What do you think? Should the Mariners sign Josh Hamilton and/or Michael Bourne? Should they trade for Justin Upton?